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The River by Michael Neale
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The River by Michael Neale recounts the story of Gabriel Clarke, the son of a Colorado whitewater rapids guide, John. When Gabriel's father dies saving the life of a careless young man, Gabriel goes to live with his mother in Kansas and tries to avoid any thoughts of The River. But, after years pass, Gabriel hears the call of The River in his life again and eventually returns to The River in Colorado.

The River is a novel of timeless themes: love, loss, sacrifice, family, beauty, and, ultimately, forgiveness and redemption. In this inspirational narrative, The River is symbolic of God's call on a Christian's life to forgive and step forward with courage and conviction, as well as other metaphorical significance. This is a book you can read quickly and it will keep your interest.

Be sure to check out Neale's website for the book trailer and a short clip showcasing the live event. Neale is an award-winning musician and performer who composed the score for the HD film footage in the live show. After watching the clip, I have a feeling the live show would be a great multi-media experience.

I also have a feeling that the whole multi-media experience might be, in totality, more moving and riveting than the book. While the book was heartening and certainly affirmed enduring lessons, the constant references to "The River" always capitalized and named only in that way became a bit distracting. I think a case could still be made to compare God to an unnamed river without making it The River.

Highly Recommended

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Thomas Nelson, the publisher, and Netgalley for review purposes.
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  SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 21, 2016 |
A young boy witnesses his father's death to the wild river, after spending his first five years being taught to revere and wonder at it. Sadly, the lessons he learned at his father's hands are stored in the back of his mind. He goes to live with his mother in Kansas, and grows up troubled, yet sweet. Friendships are hard for him, and some days he retreats into his mind; a happier, quieter, more peaceful place. His life is on the track to nowhere; aimless, and lacking hope. One day a friend talks him into a camping trip, which is a turning point in his life. This is the story of personal loss and personal discovery.

I found the characters to be likeable, yet not fully developed. Knowing that past events make them tick, and getting to know them in more depth are two different things. I also know the author wanted to convey a sense of reverence toward the river itself, but I found this to be a little overblown. That said, I truly enjoyed the storyline and found myself wanting to be in the settings; those were descriptive and beautiful! ( )
  Dmtcer | Jun 3, 2014 |
A young boy witnesses his father's death to the wild river, after spending his first five years being taught to revere and wonder at it. Sadly, the lessons he learned at his father's hands are stored in the back of his mind. He goes to live with his mother in Kansas, and grows up troubled, yet sweet. Friendships are hard for him, and some days he retreats into his mind; a happier, quieter, more peaceful place. His life is on the track to nowhere; aimless, and lacking hope. One day a friend talks him into a camping trip, which is a turning point in his life. This is the story of personal loss and personal discovery.

I found the characters to be likeable, yet not fully developed. Knowing that past events make them tick, and getting to know them in more depth are two different things. I also know the author wanted to convey a sense of reverence toward the river itself, but I found this to be a little overblown. That said, I truly enjoyed the storyline and found myself wanting to be in the settings; those were descriptive and beautiful! ( )
  Dmtcer | Jun 3, 2014 |
The River by Michael Neale

There are many characters in this book but only two who are the main focus of this story. Gabriel Clarke and The River. Gabriel spends most of his life, from the time he is three years old and tragedy strikes forcing him to go live with his mother, hating and being angry with the world and The River for taking his father from him.

In his anger Gabriel Clarke misses a great deal that life has to offer by locking himself into himself and not taking chances or forgiving The River for the tragedy that would change his life, at least for a short time, turning him into someone he is not supposed to be.

Gabriel tries to overcome his fear of life and taking chances but those times usually turn out badly. In this story Gabriel must learn to overcome his fears, to forgive, and to jump into the waters of life. As life would have it he gets the opportunity to experience all of this and so much more when some of his school friends invite him to go on a trip that will take Gabriel back to Colorado and The River. On this trip Gabriel will have his life changed and set on the path he was meant to take and become who was really meant to be.

Michael Neale, in his story The River, focuses on two main characters: Gabriel and The River. Neale uses The River in this story symbolically to depict life with all its ups and downs, ebbs and flows, and white water times as well. For we all know just how rough life can really be at times.

I am thankful I got to read this story because it honestly holds a brilliant lesson in forgiveness for me and others who are suffering through life unable to release the anger that has been acquired over time. A great story with a great lesson we can all benefit from.
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  carfor12 | Jan 10, 2014 |
I am putting this out there right off: I am unsure how I feel about this book. I've been sitting on this review a little, hoping I would figure it out, but no dice, so here's what you get. First off, since I picked this book up I had A Change is Gonna Come pretty much stuck in my head. So you're welcome for that. But really, the like "It's been too hard living, but I'm afraid to die" probably sums up where this book is at pretty well.

So here's the thing, I ditzed out when I first requested the book, and somehow I missed that this was a Christian novel. So I was being me, and updating my status on GoodReads to having it as 'read' and lo, I saw that it was a Christian > Inspirational book. So that kind of changed my framing of how I read the book because at the same time it makes more and less sense. So again, full disclaimer, I am not Christian, and didn't realize it WAS a Christian book. So basically my take away is this book can either be read as an adventure story, or an inspirational story. I read it as the former.

This book was... emotional. For lack of a better term. There were a lot of highs and lows and even though it was a bit of a slow read, I don't mean that in any negative way. The River makes a lot of promises that it will change your worldview and it fell a bit short on that to me. It was a good book, that draws you in and you don't want to stop reading it - even when you are a bit frustrated with the writing. Basically, I think what I'm saying is I see why people loved the book, and I see why people were totally apathetic to it. This is probably a horrible review, but it's actually not because I've recommended this book a few times, and I would recommend it again.

**I received a free copy of the e-book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own. ( )
  Kamrcr | Jan 4, 2013 |
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Gabriel Clarke is mysteriously drawn to The River, a ribbon of frothy white water carving its way through steep canyons high in the Colorado Rockies. The rushing waters beckon him to experience freedom and adventure. But something holds him back-the memory of the terrible event he witnessed on The River when he was just five years old-something no child should ever see. Chains of fear and resentment imprison Gabriel, keeping him from discovering the treasures of The River. He's remains trapped, afraid to take hold of the life awaiting him. When he returns to The River after years away, his heart knows he is finally home. His destiny is within reach. Claiming that destiny will be the hardest-and most brave-thing he has ever done.… (more)

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